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HEC launches report for the Disabled Students Inquiry

HEC launches report for the Disabled Students Inquiry

13th October 2020

On Wednesday 7th October, the Higher Education Commission and Policy Connect launched the report for the Disabled Students Inquiry, ‘Arriving at Thriving: Learning from disabled students to ensure access for all.’

The report was launched via Zoom, with former Minister for Universities Chris Skidmore giving a keynote speech. The report was warmly received by event attendees, including disability charities and organisations representing disability practitioners or disabled students. 190 people attended the online session.

The inquiry was co-chaired by Lord David Blunkett, Lord Philip Norton, and Vice Chancellor of the University of Derby, Kathryn Mitchell. It was launched to uncover the reasons for disparities in disabled students’ continuation, attainment and graduate outcomes in higher education; and to advise government and the HE sector on how to remove barriers and give students the support they need. To accomplish this goal the inquiry looked at three areas: teaching and learning; living and social; transition and employment. As well as the co-chairs, the event included a number of speakers including Piers Wilkinson, former NUS Disabled Students’ Officer; Julie Hotchkiss of ACCA; Kamran Mallick of Disability Rights UK; Paul Feldman of Jisc; Megan Hector, Senior Researcher at Policy Connect and the report author; and Jonathan Shaw, CEO of Policy Connect. 

Professor Geoff Layer, Chair of the Disabled Students’ Commission and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, said: “The Disabled Students’ Commission welcomes the findings of this report. The issues and challenges raised in the Disabled Students’ Inquiry report are consistent with the work of the Commission and highlight the need to improve access to higher education and the experience of disabled students. The Commission will be using the findings of the report to move forward with plans to inform and advise higher education providers about improving support for disabled students.”